If you have contracted an asbestos related disease as a result of working for an employer in the UK you may be entitled to benefits and compensation from the UK government. You may also be entitled to pursue a civil claim for compensation even though you now live outside the United Kingdom.
The UK Government currently accepts only the following diseases as asbestos-related for the purposes of claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). Each disease has an allocated Prescribed Disease (PD) or (D) number i.e D1, D3, D8, D8A & D9:
- D1 – Asbestosis
- D3 – Mesothelioma
- D8 – Lung Cancer with asbestosis
- D8A- Lung Cancer in the absence of asbestosis
- D9 – Diffuse Pleural Thickening
To meet the criteria for D8A exposure to asbestos must have been in the course of:
a) The manufacture of asbestos textiles; or
b) Spraying asbestos; or
c) Asbestos insulation work; or
d) Applying or removing materials containing asbestos in the course of shipbuilding.
The minimum specified periods of exposure for these occupations is either:
- a) 5 years pre 1975 (in aggregate); or
b) 10 years post 1975 (in aggregate).
To qualify for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit you must show that you have been exposed to asbestos while working for an employer in the UK. You must also be suffering from a prescribed asbestos disease (see above) and have worked in a prescribed occupation
The Pension Service 11
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Telephone: +44 (0) 191 218 7650
Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
You can also contact the International Pension Centre (IPC) using their online enquiry form.
An award of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit may also lead to entitlement to a payment under the above scheme provided you meet the following criteria:
- your dust-related disease must have been caused by your employment
- you can’t or haven’t taken civil action because your former employer has stopped trading
- you have not brought a court action or received compensation from an employer in respect of the disease
Even if an employer – who exposed you to asbestos and may have made a material contribution to you developing an asbestos-related disease – is still trading, you may still qualify for a payment. You should apply and allow the Jobcentre Plus to determine your eligibility.
Seeking legal advice is not the same as bringing a court action. Even if you have a solicitor currently looking at the possibility of you being able to pursue a civil case for compensation you may still qualify for a payment under this scheme.
Applications to this scheme must be made within 12 months of being awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. Applications made out with this 12 months time limit will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
When complete, the form should be forwarded to:
Barrow Benefits Centre
Post Handling Site B
If you suffer from mesothelioma as a direct result of being exposed to asbestos in the UK, which was not due to exposure at work, then you may qualify for a payment under this scheme.
You can claim a one-off lump sum payment if you:
- aren’t entitled to a payment under the 1979 Pneumoconiosis Act
- haven’t been given a payment for the disease from an employer, a civil claim or elsewhere
- aren’t entitled to compensation from a Ministry of Defence scheme
Your exposure to asbestos must have happened in the United Kingdom. For example:
- you came into contact with asbestos from a relative – eg by washing their clothes
- you were exposed to asbestos in the environment – eg you lived near a factory using asbestos
- your exposure to asbestos was while self-employed
- your exposure cannot be specified but it occurred in the United Kingdom
You must claim within 12 months of being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
When complete, the form should be forwarded to the following address:
Barrow Benefits Centre
Post Handling Site B
If you’re the dependant of someone who suffered from an asbestos-related disease but who has died, you may be able to make a claim for the benefits/compensation outlined above. A dependant claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.
Personal Injury (Civil) Compensation
When you are told or become aware that you have an asbestos-related condition, you will normally have a period of 3 years from that date in which to start court action for civil compensation.
Any employer who can be shown to have materially contributed to your asbestos-related condition and who acted negligently may be liable to pay damages. Even if the employer has ceased trading, action can still be taken if employers liability insurers can be traced. You as the claimant are known as the “Pursuer” and the person the action has been raised against is the “Defender”
It is also possible to pursue a case even where the sufferer has died. This is known as a posthumous claim.
In order to progress a civil claim in the UK, you will require the services of a specialist solicitor. If you were negligently exposed to asbestos by an employer-based in Scotland then the Scottish Courts have jurisdiction and you will require the services of a Scottish solicitor. If it was England or Wales, then you will need a solicitor based there to further a claim for you.
Please contact us for further advice.
Last reviewed: February 2020